Teddybears Childcare facing uncertain future with no clarity on redevelopment plans

Teddybears Childcare facing uncertain future with no clarity on redevelopment plans

by Freya Lucas

May 27, 2019

A childcare centre in Curtin, a Canberra suburb, has told local newsource The Canberra Times that they “live each day in fear” due to a lack of clarity around the ACT Government’s future plans for the building where their service is housed.


Teddybears Childcare Centre owner Mark Gillet told the paper that the location of the service, in a now closed primary school in the north of Curtin, posed an issue for him as the owner and approved provider, because the business has not had an official lease for a number of months.


According to the Canberra Times, a five-year lease proposal was on the table in October 2018, however this proposal has not been formalised. Additional concerns were flagged by Mr Gillet, who became aware of the possible demolition of the site in 2021 via an email with a government official.


Mr Gillet expressed his concern about a lack of transparency with his staff, after he informed them of the proposal, which has not come to pass. “I did tell [staff] what turned out to be a lie, that we were getting a five-year lease, because I was told that. We were assured that.”


The Canberra Times reports an ACT government spokesman saying there are no current development plans for the site, however the conversation was not continued as commercial leases are confidential.


Mr Gillet said that, until recently, securing landlord assistance for maintenance on the Government-owned building had been challenging. He told The Times that painting had not been done in 28 years, flooring had not been replaced, and that he, as the approved provider and owner, had undertaken kitchen renovations on two occasions.


Shaista Farooq, centre director of the service, expressed her concern about the climate of uncertainty, saying the ACT Government, as the landlord owed the service “a clear redevelopment timeline” to ensure parents and educators had time to secure alternate care and employment.


The original coverage of this story, as published in The Canberra Times can be viewed here.